Thursday, May 30, 2013

Food, Family and Summer...

We have managed to sink right into our old summer habits around here. At the top of that list is cooking on the grill! We cooked out Sunday and Monday and maybe even one other time this week.

We love to cook on the grill and try out new things! So, this past weekend we did exactly that. Brian made some of the best ribs I have ever eaten and I mean that with all sincerity!! He did an amazing job and we all hope that we can just remember what all we did the next time we decide to make them. Basically, our best times cooking are when we add a little of this, a little more of that and then cook/bake/grill at something close to the correct temp for the right amount of time.

I love vegetables on the grill. I know at this point both of my parents are laughing in amazement because I was THE PICKIEST eater as a kid. And for the record I am being paid back for that 100% with our own picky eater here. Anyways, I had seem some pintrests about chile lime butter for corn and a few other things. Since I never really thought one particular recipe sounded appealing, I decided to come up with my own. I took my ear of corn, sprinkled it with salt, pepper, a pepper blend, a tbsp. of water and one full sprig of cilantro. Then I squirted a strip of lime juice across the top of the corn before sealing it up. Can I just tell you that was THE BEST corn on the cob ever! But, if you don't like cilantro it might not be for you. I have even made it another time and cooked the exact same way but in the oven as opposed to the grill and it was just as good. You need to cook it either place for 20-25 minutes though.

We also grilled some cabbage but to be honest I just couldn't like it. It sounded good in theory, but I am OK with saying cabbage is not for me unless it is in slaw form on my fish/shrimp taco! As a total side note, cabbage always reminds me of my grandmother's house on Sunday afternoons. Ma loved cabbage and it would flat smell up the kitchen for Sunday lunch. I feel like if I don't like to eat it I at least have great memories from the smell of it which kind of compensates.

Tonight I made a Pintrest Dinner, by which I mean I made mostly only foods that I recently had pinned. I knew my family would be hesitant at best because although they like to complain/tease about the regular rotation of my cooking schedule sometimes trying something new is just too much for them! However, they all tried and even enjoyed the new foods tonight and I was thankful!

We had a Mexican food meal and one of the highlights was a Ranch Bean Dip. I know, it sounds exciting! All you do is mix one can of refried beans with one package of ranch dressing seasoning and one cup of sour cream and two cups of shredded cheese on the stove until it is heated, melted and blended. Then you just serve it up with some chips! Super, super easy but it is SO worth the try!

This week the boys have been busy working and Kamdyn has been helping at our Pee Wee basketball camp. All three of them are exhausted and counting down the days until we arrive at the beach! Koby recently tried to find himself the perfect beach hat...

He just couldn't make a decision and decided to opt for some sunglasses instead!

Find me on pintrest for some other recipe ideas! I trust the Lord is blessing you where you are this week.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

It. Is. Summer!!!

It is officially summer for us! Kamdyn finished her last exam at 11:45 on Wednesday and I finished school at noon on Thursday so our family has officially started our summer break!!

Halleluiah!!! Praise the Lord!!

The kids are thankful to have school work behind them and are looking forward to summer trips and camps. Most of all, they are looking forward to sleeping in.

I have sat down to post several times over the last week but something or another always interfered. We have gone through graduation and I intended to post on that. We have also celebrated Koby's 16th birthday and I am still going to post about that. I was glued to the Oklahoma tornado and the stories out of Moore and I  intended to post about that. However, end of the year activities at school and church commitments along with some company in and out over the last few days has kept me busy.

As I mentioned, our baby boy turned 16 this past Wednesday!!!

I will never forget the night I went into labor with Koby. I had been to the doctor that day and he assured me I was nowhere close to labor and said he would see me the next week. Mother called for a report that afternoon and I passed the word on to her. I cooked a big dinner, Brian and I enjoyed playing with Brendan in the way that you can do when you only have one child and then we put him to bed and got into bed ourselves. I was uncomfortable, but what else was new! I got up around 10:30 feeling sick and weird. Since Brendan's birth was a planned event I was a little uncertain about "going into labor" plus this was two weeks before my due date. Finally, I had enough of the pains and got Brian up and convinced him I really needed to go get checked out. We got Brendan up and flew (literally) to the hospital where upon examination I was dilated to a 4 and moving along.
Hello labor!!!! And can I just say this goes to prove doctors really don't know when you may give birth.
I don't remember much about that night because the nurse gave me some wonderful medicine!! I know my mom and sisters spent a miserable night in the waiting room and Brian got Brendan back to sleep on a pull out sofa in my room. Koby finally arrived that afternoon, much to the celebration of all who were anxiously waiting!
Koby came into the world as a surprise and he has been that way ever since! He makes us laugh, keeps us entertained and I can't imagine our family without him. It is difficult to believe he is already 16 and I wish I could freeze time so that we always have him here at home. I am thankful that God gave him to Brian and I to raise and I am confident He is going to use Koby in a mighty way.
I felt like Koby would want a big party but he is waiting to celebrate with Papa at the beach. So, we took him out to eat for lunch and then had pizza for him and family and friends at home. Brian also got him a cookie cake and yes it says "Happy Birthday Kolby" but hey, it tasted good.  


We are enjoying beautiful weather so far this weekend and Brian made us some good hamburgers tonight. I've finally gotten caught up on Nashville (the season finale met the expectations I had built up in my mind) and I have downloaded a couple of books on my Kindle that were free so I am hoping to enjoy reading those in the next few days. It is good to have some down time, and I am living with the fact that I could be dusting, mopping and all sorts of other boring house chores but am instead savoring the start of summer.

I hope you are enjoying this weekend as summer waltzes in and sunshine abounds. I have several other things to write about so I'll be posting again soon. After all, IT IS SUMMER!!!!! (at least for us in Mississippi)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Birthdays and Awards

Last week was one of those weeks where we had something every single night and by the time I got to Friday I was SO thankful I didn't know what to do!!

Those kind of weeks are hard because I feel like the devil just has you so preoccupied with the busyness that you forget the stillness and quiet that is essential to your spirit. In my devotion time this week I have begged God to fill me with patience and endurance to go into each day. I want you to know He spoke straight to me "the joy of the Lord is my strength" and I have just held on to that.

On top of school and work activities last week, we celebrated Brendan's 17th birthday in his peaceful and family oriented way that he likes. He wanted no party and asked for no big gift. It was hot wings before church with the family and then I surprised him with a cookie cake in the youth lounge at church.

 I am amazed how fast 17 years go by. I never would've imagined that being his mom would be like this. I have sat with him through broken bones, bad choices and more basketball games than I could ever count and I am thankful for every single second of it. The young man that he is becoming is only through the grace of God. There is no doubt Brian and I have made many mistakes along our parenting journey and many of them probably have come as Brendan was our learning curve. I pray as we see him into adulthood that God will continue to strengthen him in the choices he makes and in the path he walks.

One event we had last week was our annual Sports Banquet with the school for J.V. and Varsity sports. I always love this night not because our kids might get an award but because it is a celebration of their efforts through the year and the accomplishments of their teams. Some years, the accomplishments for the team are few and some years they have been great. This year was mostly more of the first.

So here are a few pictures from the night...

First of all, here is a picture of the kids. Please take a good look because it is rare that they all three smile so genuinely! Of course, they were in a hurry to move on to pictures with friends so that tends to produce more cooperative smiles for me!
Here is Brendan and Ellie.
This is the boys with two of their best friends!
And this is Kamdyn with two of her best friends!

If you are wondering if that is also Kamdyn's Easter dress let me say why yes, it is. Because if you thought it was hard to find one dress that is both appropriate and something we both agree on then you should try to find a second one!!! In case you are out of the loop on teen clothing for girls the current style is backless, short and sheer which tends to limit the choices of what we can buy.
But back to the awards program...Kamdyn received the Best Defensive Player award for the Varsity Softball team and also the Team Award for J.V. basketball. Brendan received the Leadership award for varsity basketball. And while Koby may not have received a trophy I can guarantee you nobody had more fun and took more pictures than him through the night.
We enjoyed a beautiful weekend and I especially enjoyed my Mother's Day and my gifts. Brian made us some wonderful steaks for dinner and I was able to sit out and enjoy some sunshine and reading during the afternoon which are two of my favorite things!
Tomorrow will be Brendan's last day of school because he will be exempt from his final exams so you can only imagine how excited he is! Koby is hoping to have the same feeling once exemptions are announced for him. Kamdyn will have to take all of her tests next week because we do not exempt 7th or 8th graders. She is just going to have to push through, which she so often does. One thing is certain - we are all counting down the days.
I hope your week is a great one and that you are enjoying sunshine and warmer weather...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

For Mother...

Here is  my Happy  Mother's Day to you mother!

For all the times you made me go to school when I felt bad, thank you because in that I learned sometimes you just have to keep going even when you think you can't.

For all the times you let us have friends over to spend the night and for the ungodly amount of  cheesedip and Dr. Pepper we consumed, thank you because in that I learned to have an open door to my home now and to welcome and feed any who come in.

For all the times you cooked us dinner after you worked all day and let me vent to you about my day and what happened at school, thank you because now I realize you were tired and probably craved silence and I can give my children the same opportunities at the end of my day because you did that for me.

For all the times you took us to church and made sure we were there and participated in trips and camps, thank you because in the struggles of life I have come to realize that the foundation of the Bible and church developed my relationship with the One True God that I desperately depend on today.

For all the times you took care of our grandparents or gave to others, thank you because it's all I know to love my neighbor and to try to think of others more than I think of myself.

As I have found myself moving on in my own motherhood journey I now realize more than ever how unselfishly you gave to us girls  as we grew up. There is no hallmark card that can say thank you enough and no gift that can say thank you enough for all you did for us and continue to do even still.

While I now understand there is no perfection that is attained in motherhood  I do know you did all you could to love us and let us go. Thank you for believing in me, supporting me and most of all unconditionally loving me as I married, had children and now try to raise them to do the very same thing one day. Happy Mother's Day  mom!! I love  you...

Monday, May 6, 2013

If you have visited the blog lately you may have been disappointed - or excited - to not know the latest news from the Bailey house!! I can only imagine that so many of you hang on to the ins and outs of our lives over here in Mississippi.

The truth is, I have no excuse for not blogging the last week. No games, no major events. Our family spent the last week settling back into the routine I love most...home, meals not from fast food places or concession stands, laundry put up and time to just slow down. So, I took a break from the blog as well.

But, I have so much to share with you now that it may take a few postings to be certain that I have you all caught up!!

First of all, we were so happy to see my little sister and her family this past weekend!!

As you can tell, there was plenty of cousin love to go around!! This was our big introduction to sweet little Carrie Kay and oh my goodness! Did we just love to have a baby to hold and pass around!!! Gracie was most likely more excited to see our dogs than us....

....but I like to think we were a close second. OK - I admit she was excited to see Kamdyn, too, but I know I was pretty close to the top of the list. And maybe I used food and or candy to bribe her, but when you only have 14 hours I think you should live it up!!!! So, the more goldfish the better!

Brendan had a big week last week in his Biology class. The teacher let me come in to take some pictures for our school website and I was amazed to see him dissecting his frog and taking dissection so serious!

I do remember doing this myself but I would have never put one hand on the frog!! I was the "identifier" and my partner was the "dissecting person". I am so thankful those days are long behind me and to be honest I am also grateful God did not lead me to be a science teacher OR surgeon!

I also have been reminded that kids will always be kids -apparently someone slipped an extra frog into the desk and it was later discovered by a distraught Study Hall student. I guess some parts of high school are truly fun!

Brian and I have been cooking some yummy jalapeƱo appetizers here lately.

We both love them and we have friends that love them but our kids don't so much. Anyways, all you do is split the jalapenos in half and scoop out the seeds. Then we fill it with cream cheese and wrap it in bacon. Sometimes we add a little brown sugar on top of the bacon and sometimes we put a little shredded cheese on top of the cream cheese. It's never exact with us and our cooking!! But we bake them for about 30 minutes and man are they amazing!!!!!

I came across this article on a blog I follow the other day and wanted to share it with you here. If you have a chance read it! Jen does a great job commending teachers and I really appreciated what she had to say!

 (If I was an organized person I would have put this after the frog dissection part of this post, but this is the kind of random thinker that I am!)

(This random thinking pattern also explains why I have many half finished projects in my house)

Anyways, here it is so read it when you get a chance:


My mind has been on teachers and others who invest so much into our kids this past week. I think some of this is because we just celebrated "Senior Sunday" at our church for the Class of 2013. As our youth minister recognized each soon to be graduate, I had lots of thoughts coming and going. One is that in a very short year, that will be our oldest on the stage!!! But, looking at the kids this year I realized that so many of them have been kids that Brian and I have personally invested in. These were kids that have been in our home, eating our food, listening to our advice. We have been on trips with these kids and prayed for these kids. And I had just had a moment where I realized there were some important people who did that very same thing for me growing up. I probably never thanked them with a proper "Thank You" like I should have! Adults who stayed up late when they had already worked all day. Women who listened to me spill my guts and then offered prayer. Family who loved me and disciplined me and encouraged me to see hard times through. Faithful Christians of Faith Baptist Church that encouraged me and prayed for me and fed me and other youth on Sunday nights. Some of them are home with the Lord now and I won't get to thank them this side of eternity, but know that in just a few minutes Sunday morning those faces flashed through my mind and I was grateful that God used them ALL in my life. I wish I had the ability to tell each one thank you for the difference they made.

After our graduates told the church where they were going to college and received their gift they sat in chairs in front of the pulpit and we had to the opportunity to go to each one and pray for them. What an honor and blessing!! I am confident that the Lord will finish the good work He has began in each of them and I am thankful to have had a small chance to play a part in their lives.

Finally, I am still working my way through the book of Nehemiah in one of the best Bible studies that I have ever walked through. I never would have thought this book would strengthen my faith in the way that it has. I've been working in chapter 9 this week, reading through the longest prayer of the Bible. Here is a short part of it that has really stuck with me:

Nehemiah is confessing what a great God we serve and he says in verse 17.."But you are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. Therefore you did not dessert them [the Israelites]." I am so thankful that God does not dessert me when I fail Him and let's be clear I fail Him daily. But Nehemiah praised God for being gracious and compassionate. Thank you Lord!!

Hope your week is great!! We will be celebrating Brendan's 17th birthday later this week so I'll be filling you in on that and lots more....